D&C 87, expounded


This is my understanding of this section.

The section heading

Revelation and prophecy on war, given through Joseph Smith the Prophet, December 25, 1832. HC 1: 301–302. This section was received at a time when the brethren were reflecting and reasoning upon African slavery on the American continent and the slavery of the children of men throughout the world.

D&C 87, as currently written

1. Verily, thus saith the Lord concerning the wars that will shortly come to pass, beginning at the rebellion of South Carolina, which will eventually terminate in the death and misery of many souls;

2. And the time will come that war will be poured out upon all nations, beginning at this place.

3. For behold, the Southern States shall be divided against the Northern States, and the Southern States will call on other nations, even the nation of Great Britain, as it is called, and they shall also call upon other nations, in order to defend themselves against other nations; and then war shall be poured out upon all nations.

4. And it shall come to pass, after many days, slaves shall rise up against their masters, who shall be marshaled and disciplined for war.

5. And it shall come to pass also that the remnants who are left of the land will marshal themselves, and shall become exceedingly angry, and shall vex the Gentiles with a sore vexation.

6. And thus, with the sword and by bloodshed the inhabitants of the earth shall mourn; and with famine, and plague, and earthquake, and the thunder of heaven, and the fierce and vivid lightning also, shall the inhabitants of the earth be made to feel the wrath, and indignation, and chastening hand of an Almighty God, until the consumption decreed hath made a full end of all nations;

7. That the cry of the saints, and of the blood of the saints, shall cease to come up into the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth, from the earth, to be avenged of their enemies.

8. Wherefore, stand ye in holy places, and be not moved, until the day of the Lord come; for behold, it cometh quickly, saith the Lord. Amen.  (D&C 87)

In order to expound this prophecy, I will render a plainer translation.

TAV D&C 87; (TAV=The Anarchist Version)

Truly, this is what the Lord says concerning the wars that will shortly come to pass, beginning at the rebellion of South Carolina, which will eventually terminate in the death and misery of many soulsand the time will come that war will be poured out upon all non-Israelite tribes (States), beginning at South Carolina, for see, the Southern States shall be divided against the Northern States, and the Southern States will call on other non-Israelite tribes (States), even the non-Israelite tribe (State) of Great Britain, as it is called, and they shall also call upon other non-Israelite tribes (States), in order to defend themselves against other non-Israelite tribes (States); and then war shall be poured out upon all non-Israelite tribes (States)—and it shall come to pass, after many days, those who are ruled shall violently overthrow their rulers, who shall be marshaled and disciplined for war.

And it shall also come to pass that the Israelite remnants who are left of the land will marshal themselves, and shall become exceedingly angry, and shall vex the non-Israelite tribes (in tribal anarchies) with a sore vexation.

And in this way, with the sword and by bloodshed the inhabitants of the earth shall mourn; and with famine, and plague, and earthquake, and the thunder of heaven, and also the fierce and vivid lightning, shall the inhabitants of the earth be made to feel the wrath, and indignation, and chastening hand of an Almighty God, until the consumption decreed has made a full end of all non-Israelite tribes;  that the cry of the set-apart ones, and of the blood of the set-apart ones, shall cease to come up into the ears of the Lord of Armies, from the earth, to be avenged of their enemies.

Wherefore, stand, all of you, in set-apart places, and do not allow yourselves to be moved, until the day of the Lord come; for see, it comes quickly, says the Lord. Amen.  (TAV D&C 87, changes in italics)

TAV D&C 87, in verses

1. Truly, this is what the Lord says concerning the wars that will shortly come to pass, beginning at the rebellion of South Carolina, which will eventually terminate in the death and misery of many souls

2. and the time will come that war will be poured out upon all non-Israelite tribes (States), beginning at South Carolina, for see, the Southern States shall be divided against the Northern States, and the Southern States will call on other non-Israelite tribes (States), even the non-Israelite tribe (State) of Great Britain, as it is called, and they shall also call upon other non-Israelite tribes (States), in order to defend themselves against other non-Israelite tribes (States); and then war shall be poured out upon all non-Israelite tribes (States)

3. and it shall come to pass, after many days, those who are ruled shall violently overthrow their rulers, who shall be marshaled and disciplined for war.

4. And it shall also come to pass that the Israelite remnants who are left of the land will marshal themselves, and shall become exceedingly angry, and shall vex the non-Israelite tribes (in tribal anarchies) with a sore vexation.

5. And in this way, with the sword and by bloodshed the inhabitants of the earth shall mourn; and with famine, and plague, and earthquake, and the thunder of heaven, and also the fierce and vivid lightning, shall the inhabitants of the earth be made to feel the wrath, and indignation, and chastening hand of an Almighty God, until the consumption decreed has made a full end of all non-Israelite tribes;  that the cry of the set-apart ones, and of the blood of the set-apart ones, shall cease to come up into the ears of the Lord of Armies, from the earth, to be avenged of their enemies.

6. Wherefore, stand, all of you, in set-apart places, and do not allow yourselves to be moved, until the day of the Lord come; for see, it comes quickly, says the Lord. Amen.  (TAV D&C 87, changes in italics)

D&C 87: 1 and TAV D&C 87: 1—The War Between The States

1. Verily, thus saith the Lord concerning the wars that will shortly come to pass, beginning at the rebellion of South Carolina, which will eventually terminate in the death and misery of many souls;  (D&C 87: 1)

1. Truly, this is what the Lord says concerning the wars that will shortly come to pass, beginning at the rebellion of South Carolina, which will eventually terminate in the death and misery of many souls (TAV D&C 87: 1)

This seems to me to be fairly self-explanatory, but taking this single verse alone might confuse the matter.  D&C 87: 1-4 (which is paragraph 1 of TAV D&C 87 or, if you prefer, TAV D&C 87: 1-3) is a complete prophetic thought. Although verse 1 is mentioning The War Between The States (known to Northerners as The Civil War and to some Southerners as The War of Northern Aggression), the whole prophetic message is that The War Between The States is the beginning of the end of all States.  The War Between The States was fought over the rights of man, and more specifically over the right of secession, but only started the struggle that would ultimately end in tribal anarchy (freedom) for humanity in D&C 87: 4. (See Abraham Lincoln for more information about The War Between The States.)

D&C 87: 2 and TAV D&C 87: 2 — The War Between The States Begins

2. And the time will come that war will be poured out upon all nations, beginning at this place. (D&C 87: 2)

2. and the time will come that war will be poured out upon all non-Israelite tribes (States), beginning at South Carolina, (TAV D&C 87: 2)

“nations” — The words “nations” and “Gentiles” are synonymous to the prophetic mind.  Originally, the word “Gentiles” simply meant “nations,” regardless of which one, but later it referred only to non-Israelite nations.  To the ancients, though, a “nation” wasn’t the modern State we think of.  Nations were tribes.  The prophets of all ages, who have prophesied of the Gentiles, have always referred to non-Israelite tribes.  Joseph, however, being both a true prophet of God who understood the ancient use of the terms, and a citizen of a modern State who understood the modern use of the terms, choose his words carefully, when using “nation” and “Gentile” in this prophecy, to key us in as to what this prophecy was talking about.  “Nations,” therefore, in this verse is referring to non-Israelite tribes that are established (or tied to the land) under (or by) State governments.

“this place” — The place being referred to is the place mentioned in verse 1, namely, South Carolina.  The Prophet is associating South Carolina with the nations that would have war poured out upon them, because, to the prophetic mind, South Carolina is a nation. In other words, the State of South Carolina is really a non-Israelite tribe established (meaning they are land-owners, or tied to the land, which is why they are also known as a place) as a State government.  The Prophet could have worded it as follows and it would have retained the same meaning:

“and the time will come that war will be poured out upon all nations, beginning at the nation of South Carolina

D&C 87: 3 and TAV D&C 87: 2—The War Between The States Morphs into World Wars Between The States

3. For behold, the Southern States shall be divided against the Northern States, and the Southern States will call on other nations, even the nation of Great Britain, as it is called, and they shall also call upon other nations, in order to defend themselves against other nations; and then war shall be poured out upon all nations. (D&C 87: 3)

2. for see, the Southern States shall be divided against the Northern States, and the Southern States will call on other non-Israelite tribes (States), even the non-Israelite tribe (State) of Great Britain, as it is called, and they shall also call upon other non-Israelite tribes (States), in order to defend themselves against other non-Israelite tribes (States); and then war shall be poured out upon all non-Israelite tribes (States) (TAV D&C 87: 2)

“nations” — Like the previous verse, all uses of the word “nation” or “nations” here are referring to State governments, meaning non-Israelite tribes established (as landowners) under State governments.

“war shall be poured out upon all nations” — Eventually, all these State governments will be fighting amongst themselves.  In other words, this is World War but still among the States.  To be clearer still, all of this is but an extension of The War Between The States, as the World Wars will still be Wars Between States.

D&C 87: 4 and TAV D&C 87: 3—The End of the States and Beginning of Tribal Anarchy

4. And it shall come to pass, after many days, slaves shall rise up against their masters, who shall be marshaled and disciplined for war. (D&C 87: 4)

3. and it shall come to pass, after many days, those who are ruled shall violently overthrow their rulers, who shall be marshaled and disciplined for war. (TAV D&C 87: 3)

“slaves” — This refers to those who are ruled in the States.

“rise up against” — Although the prophecy only states that the slaves will openly oppose the masters, as in armed conflict, my understanding is that the slaves, which vastly outnumber the masters, will defeat them, therefore I have rendered this saying as “violently overthrow,” to indicate the result of this revolution.

“masters” — This refers to those who rule the States.

“who shall be marshaled and disciplined for war” — The armies of the States will be overcome by the people themselves and these many (oppressive) State governments and military dictatorships will topple, bringing about a new world order of tribal anarchies.

D&C 87: 5 and TAV D&C 87: 4—The Indians Get Their Revenge

5. And it shall come to pass also that the remnants who are left of the land will marshal themselves, and shall become exceedingly angry, and shall vex the Gentiles with a sore vexation. (D&C 87: 5)

4. And it shall also come to pass that the Israelite remnants who are left of the land will marshal themselves, and shall become exceedingly angry, and shall vex the non-Israelite tribes (in tribal anarchies) with a sore vexation.  (TAV D&C 87: 4)

“remnants” — This refers to the descendants of the Nephite/Lamanite civilizations.

“shall become exceedingly angry” — The Gentiles, now living in tribal anarchy, are going to do something so exceedingly bad to the Indians, that the Indians will be fairly berserk with anger towards them.

“shall vex” — Once the non-Israelite tribes destroy the States which held them captive, they will no longer have the protection afforded them by the military might of the State.   As a result, when the Indians decide to repay them for the wrongs done to them by the white man, wrongs committed both in the present and the past, the Gentiles will fall before them.  This verse speaks of the same event recorded in 3 Nephi 21:  12-13.

“the Gentiles” — The phrase “the Gentiles” is synonymous with “the nations,” but Joseph used Gentiles here instead of “nations” to indicate that the Gentiles would be in tribal anarchies when this part of the prophecy was fulfilled.  Joseph walked a fine line between what the modern man understood and what the ancient man understood by the terms “Gentiles” and “nations” and the wording is, I believe, sufficiently clear, but I’ve rendered it plainer still.

D&C 87: 6 and TAV D&C 87: 5—The End of the Gentile Tribes

6. And thus, with the sword and by bloodshed the inhabitants of the earth shall mourn; and with famine, and plague, and earthquake, and the thunder of heaven, and the fierce and vivid lightning also, shall the inhabitants of the earth be made to feel the wrath, and indignation, and chastening hand of an Almighty God, until the consumption decreed hath made a full end of all nations; (D&C 87: 6)

5. And in this way, with the sword and by bloodshed the inhabitants of the earth shall mourn; and with famine, and plague, and earthquake, and the thunder of heaven, and also the fierce and vivid lightning, shall the inhabitants of the earth be made to feel the wrath, and indignation, and chastening hand of an Almighty God, until the consumption decreed has made a full end of all non-Israelite tribes;  (TAV D&C 87: 5)

“sword…bloodshed” — Although there will be bloodshed on both sides, Gentiles killing Israelites, Israelites killing Gentiles, the lion’s share of bloodshed will be Gentiles killing Gentiles.  These wicked tribes will kill each other off.  This will be one of the ways that the Lord will use to protect his people from destruction.

“famine” — There will be famine caused by man, and also famine caused by God (the hailstorms.)

“plague” — There will be plague caused by man, and also plague (the scourge) caused by God.

“earthquake…thunder…lightning” — With plasma discharges, both planetary and interplanetary, the Lord will first chasten the Gentiles, to perhaps cause some to repent, and then destroy them off the face of the earth.

“wrath” — The Lord’s wrath will be kindled against the wicked, unrepentant Gentiles because they fight against and seek the destruction of his people.

“indignation” — The Lord will be indignant because the Gentiles will refuse to repent and accept the sacrifice of God’s Only Begotten Son, making a mockery of God’s plan to save them.  Despite the mighty words of God brought forth to the Gentiles in the new records, the wicked Gentiles will reject them.

“chastening” — In spite of their obstinancy, the Lord will do all things he can to get them to repent, until he can no longer stay his hand and must return to Earth at the appointed time, meaning that those who are not in the proper (safe) places, and in the proper spiritual state, will be burnt up at the brightness of his coming.

“consumption decreed” — This is talking about the Second Coming, which will consume many people.

“nations” — This refers to the non-Israelite tribes who refuse to repent and gather to Zion.  Those that repent will be numbered with the tribes of Israel.  You could substitute the word “Gentiles” here so that it reads, “a full end of all Gentiles.”  It means the same thing.  Joseph probably chose the word “nations” instead of Gentiles because it sounds pretty harsh that the Gentiles will be consumed.  But, the meaning is not that the Gentiles will be destroyed, but that all unrepentant people will be destroyed, while all repentant people will live.  The unrepentant are not numbered with the house of Israel, and in fact, they fight the house of Israel and Zion, therefore these people are Gentiles; while the repentant people become Israelites and thus cease to be Gentiles.

Again, it sounds harsh, this repent or die doctrine, but that is only because we do not, yet, have the full Nephite record, which will cause a great division among the people.  When that record is revealed, no man will be left without excuse.  They will either reject the Lord openly, calling the Sun at noonday darkness, or accept Him with full purpose of heart.  There will be no middle ground.  It will polarize everyone.

D&C 87: 7 and TAV D&C 87: 5—The Reason the Gentiles will be Destroyed

7. That the cry of the saints, and of the blood of the saints, shall cease to come up into the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth, from the earth, to be avenged of their enemies. (D&C 87: 7)

5. that the cry of the set-apart ones, and of the blood of the set-apart ones, shall cease to come up into the ears of the Lord of Armies, from the earth, to be avenged of their enemies.  (TAV D&C 87: 5)

“saint” — The term “saint” signifies one who is set apart for a sacred purpose.  The term “holy” also means the same thing.

“cry…blood” — The Gentiles, living in tribal anarchy after the end of their State governments, and after the Nephite record is revealed, who reject the message, shall fight against the people of the Lord, spilling their blood and causing the people to call upon the Lord for vengeance.  This is the reason why they are destroyed.  Had they merely left Zion alone, the Lord would have left them alone.  But as the Nephite record will be polarizing in its effect, those who reject it will desire and seek the destruction of those who accept it, necessitating the intervention of the Lord of Armies.

“Lord of Sabaoth” — This is a title of Jehovah that means Lord of Hosts, hosts meaning armies, as in both the armies of Israel and the angelic armies of heaven.  The Lord, acting as the Lord of Armies, will utilize both the mortal Israelite armies to afflict the unrepentant Gentiles, as well as the angelic armies of heaven, in the last days.  (See 3 Nephi 20: 16-17 for the work the angelic armies will do.)

D&C 87: 8 and TAV D&C 87: 6—Establishment of Zion and Her Stakes is Our Only Hope

8. Wherefore, stand ye in holy places, and be not moved, until the day of the Lord come; for behold, it cometh quickly, saith the Lord. Amen. (D&C 87: 8)

6. Wherefore, stand, all of you, in set-apart places, and do not allow yourselves to be moved, until the day of the Lord come; for see, it comes quickly, says the Lord. Amen.  (TAV D&C 87: 6)

“holy places” — This is referring to Zion and her stakes, which are places set apart for sacred purposes.  Temples also fall into this category, as temples are at the heart of any stake of Zion.

“be not moved” — This is the same as saying, “become established” or “fixed.”  It is referring to land ownership.  It is referring to the gathering of Israel and the restoration of them to the lands of their inheritance.

Okay, I think that I’ve expounded enough for today.

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The law of tithing (part four)


Continued from part three.

Inevitably, when talking about the blessings that come from paying tithing, a speaker will quote the following scripture:

Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation. Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the LORD of hosts. And all nations shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the LORD of hosts. (Malachi 3: 8-12)

In fact, so pervasive is the use of this scripture, that I’ve heard tithing talks where it is the only scripture used. It is practically a guarantee that these verses are quoted, even if D&C 119 is never mentioned, at all. We are taught on every level, that Malachi contains the expected blessings that come from paying tithing. But does it?

Normally, the Lord puts the blessings that come from obedience to a law in the same area as where the law is stated. For example, the modern charge to keep the Lord’s day (Sunday) holy is found in D&C 59: 9-14. Then in verses 15-19 of the same section the Lord details the expected blessings to be received upon obeying this law:

And inasmuch as ye do these things with thanksgiving, with cheerful hearts and countenances, not with much laughter, for this is sin, but with a glad heart and a cheerful countenance—verily I say, that inasmuch as ye do this, the fulness of the earth is yours, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the air, and that which climbeth upon the trees and walketh upon the earth; yea, and the herb, and the good things which come of the earth, whether for food or for raiment, or for houses, or for barns, or for orchards, or for gardens, or for vineyards; yea, all things which come of the earth, in the season thereof, are made for the benefit and the use of man, both to please the eye and to gladden the heart; yea, for food and for raiment, for taste and for smell, to strengthen the body and to enliven the soul. (D&C 59: 15-19)

Likewise, the Word of Wisdom, written in D&C 89, contains the promised blessings that will be received, blessings that are enumerated in the very same section:

And all saints who remember to keep and do these sayings, walking in obedience to the commandments, shall receive health in their navel and marrow to their bones; and shall find wisdom and great treasures of knowledge, even hidden treasures; and shall run and not be weary, and shall walk and not faint. And I, the Lord, give unto them a promise, that the destroying angel shall pass by them, as the children of Israel, and not slay them. Amen. (D&C 89: 18-21)

The revelation on tithing, section 119, follows the same pattern. Written in the 6th verse of the revelation are the promised blessings that come from obeying this particular law:

And I say unto you, if my people observe not this law, to keep it holy, and by this law sanctify the land of Zion unto me, that my statutes and my judgments may be kept thereon, that it may be most holy, behold, verily I say unto you, it shall not be a land of Zion unto you. (D&C 119: 6)

The purpose and blessing of living the law of tithing, then, is to sanctify the land of Zion (or stake of Zion) unto the Lord, that his statutes and his judgments may be kept on the land, and that it may, indeed be a land of Zion (or stake of Zion) unto us. That is the stated blessing. That is the stated purpose. Sanctification of the land upon which we live.

Additionally, the Lord mentions two penalties for not living the law of tithing. One is mentioned above in verse 6, namely, that the land of Zion upon which we live (or the stake of Zion to which we pertain, see verse 7) will not be a bona fide land of Zion and will not be a bona fide stake of Zion. In other words, it will be the land of Zion in name only, having no sanctification and hence no power. “They draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me, they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof.” (JS—H 1: 19.) And the unsanctified stake of Zion in which we live will also be a stake of Zion in name only, with no godly powers attending it.

The second penalty for not living the law of tithing is mentioned in verse 5:

Verily I say unto you, it shall come to pass that all those who gather unto the land of Zion shall be tithed of their surplus properties, and shall observe this law, or they shall not be found worthy to abide among you. (D&C 119: 5)

There are only two punishments a religious society can inflict upon its members: disfellowship or excommunication. (See D&C 134: 10.) Regardless of whether this particular penalty means excommunication or disfellowship, we currently inflict neither penalty upon non-exempt people who do not pay tithes.

All of this brings me to the following questions: Why do the leaders never mention the Lord’s stated purpose and blessing of the law of tithing, found in D&C 119? Why do the leaders never enact the penalties associated with non-payment of tithes for those who are not exempt? And why is Malachi 3: 8-12 the scripture of choice when talking about the importance of tithing and the promised blessings upon the people who obey this law?

I have my own ideas as to why I think the leaders speak the way they do in relation to tithing. But they are only ideas, speculation. I do not know the real answer, but I still find it awfully strange that this section is virtually avoided.

Now, one last thing. Malachi 3: 8-12 is talking about a different law of tithing, which existed under the Mosaic law, which has absolutely no relation and nothing to do with our present law of tithing, found in D&C 119. This was a tithing known as the “whole tithe,” which in our KJV of the Bible is translated “all the tithes,” which was collected once every three years, stored at home, and used to feed the Levites and the poor. For a detailed understanding of Old Testament tithing, visit the following online web page:

The Truth About Tithing—Old Testament Perspectives

The blessings associated with that particular law of Moses were specific to that people, just as the blessings associated with our D&C 119 law of tithing are specific to our people. Why the mix-up by our priesthood leaders?

Admittedly, the language of Malachi 3: 8-12 is so powerful, that it is natural for a person (who wants to instill a desire in people to pay tithing) to lay hold on it and assume (and teach) that it applies equally to the law of tithing stated in D&C 119. In my own opinion, though, I find the blessing of D&C 119: 6 quite appealing, as I desire that my land is sanctified.

In conclusion, I want to bring one more thing to your attention. I quoted Malachi 3: 8-12 and D&C 59: 15-19 in their entirety because both promised blessings appear similar and I wanted to show the similarities. The Lord promised his latter-day saints “the fulness of the earth” for keeping his day holy. He essentially promised the same thing to the ancient Jews for paying the mosaic “whole tithe” law. Why do we need to resort to a law of Moses blessing when we have already been promised the same things for fulfilling a law of Christ? It is strange, indeed.

Previous Tithes and Offerings article: The law of tithing (part three)

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